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How Long Do Opiates Stay In Your System?

The medical community is using opiates for its sedative and painkilling properties, notwithstanding the prohibited heroin ingredient that is exclusively recreational. These drugs are known to be highly addictive, but they are still distributed legally through doctors’ prescriptions and are even sold out on black markets. Read our post, “How Long Doe Opiates Stay In Urine” to learn more about that subject.

Common Opiates


It is a type of opiate that gives fast-acting effect, but is very short-lived. Heroin can be detected within the first 5 hours after the last dose either through saliva or blood test. The most common, however, is the Urine test because it can still detect the substance 2-7 days after the last use. In hair follicle tests, heroin can still be found even after 90 days since last use.


It is an opiate that has longer lasting effects than heroin. Despite this, morphine is detectable for the first 12 hours after the last dose through blood tests, and 3 days via urine tests. A saliva test, however, is considered as the most profound as it can still trace morphine substances 4 days since the last use. The drug can stay in the hair for as long as 90 days.


It is recognized to be one of the fastest opiates to leave the system. It can only stay 24 hours in the blood, 24-48 hours in urine, 1-4 days in saliva tests, but up to 90 days in the hair.

While these are all averages, the limits may widen beyond these figures since opiates build up in fatty tissues.

Prescription opiates come in pill form. Since it is an oral medication, it means that the drug has to get through the stomach to start giving off its effects. It will then take an hour before the symptoms are experienced.

Opiates As Oral Medication

Opiates have short half-lives, which mean that they leave the system rapidly. However, its effects can keep on affecting the system for hours. The extent of each opiate’s effect on the system, which can be identified by drug tests, may differ because of several variables such as the person’s speed of ingestion. Heroin’s length of stay, for instance, is dependent on:

  • The individual’s metabolic rate;
  • Body mass and weight;
  • Body fat content;
  • Health of the liver and kidneys;
  • Age;
  • How often opiate is used;
  • How potent opiate is;
  • The amount of water in the body.

As reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2012 World Drug Report, 26.4 to 36 million people across the globe abuse opiates. Since most people have focused on the short-term effects of opiates, the information has been frequently misleading. For instance, it has not been a general knowledge that there are those who go through major life scare through diarrhea, vomiting, sedation, and even death because of opiates and its derivatives. What’s not often mentioned are the long-term side effects, which may include:

  • Weakened immune system functioning.
  • Gastric problems ranging from the difficulty of digestion (e.g., constipation) to severe intestinal ileus and bowel perforation.
  • Medical issues because of intravenous route use (e.g., embolic events, localized abscesses, systemic infection, blood-borne illnesses).
  • Respiratory depression; Hypoxic end-organ injury.



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